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In April, President Joe Biden announced plans to run again in 2024, thereby setting up the potential for an epic repeat of the 2020 presidential election matchup with former President Donald Trump. As the incumbent, though, Joe Biden will have a tougher task ahead of him than he did as the challenger. He will need to address intensifying voter dissatisfaction with a growing array of economic and foreign policy issues. In other words, how do you make voters feel good about bank failures, inflation, recession, and the prospect of war with both Russia AND China?
Judging by Biden’s previous social media campaigns, a lot will hinge on feel-good vibes, inspirational messages, and uplifting stories, without getting into too many of the details. The Biden team will likely highlight growing diversity within the nation, the White House’s support of different underrepresented groups, and a message of hope for economically disadvantaged communities. “Build back better,” Biden will tell these voter groups. Or maybe he will tell them, “Let’s finish the job.”
Social media influencers
We already know that the Biden campaign team will rely on a growing army of social media influencers to tell this story. By some estimates, there are now hundreds of these influencers, all working from a carefully designed White House script. In order to win their goodwill, the Biden team plans to give them unparalleled access to the presidency, including a dedicated White House briefing space for influencers.
Most likely, they will be invited to meet-and-greet events on the campaign trail, or other important events, such as bill signing ceremonies. At the most recent State of the Union address, for example, a team of two dozen social media influencers were invited to a “watch party” at the White House. Afterwards, they were expected to put out viral YouTube videos and TikTok clips.
The question, of course, is just how much these social media influencers can be counted on to tell the Biden campaign story convincingly, especially when it comes to the economy. For example, one “economics influencer” for Biden is a young woman who uses the handle “@YourRichBFF” and refers to herself as “your Wall Street girlie.” Some of her latest TikTok videos include titles like, “How to be a baddie with a whole lotta money.”
Sounds interesting, but how is that going to stretch my paycheck to cover the rising cost of groceries?
The Instagram and TikTok demographic
A key focus of the Biden social media strategy will be courting the group of voters that can be best thought of as “the Instagram and TikTok demographic.” This is a demographic that skews overwhelmingly young. The core group includes young people, aged 18-to-29, who grew up as digital natives, are very comfortable with social media, and are quite likely to use social media platforms such as Instagram as the sole source of their news. This younger demographic is very passionate about certain issues, so expect a focus on issues like climate change, abortion, and social justice.
But what if this positive, upbeat social media approach featuring young, 20-something influencers doesn’t work? What if President Biden is down in the polls, his campaign messages are not resonating with voters, and it looks like Trump might win in 2024? That’s when it might be time to roll out Plan B.
What is Plan B, you might ask? Well, we’ve seen a preview of this during the three years of the Biden Administration. It requires the discrediting or removal of dissenting views (buh-bye, Tucker Carlson!) and a focus on demonizing any opponents as “MAGA extremists.” Anything that appears to weaken the case for voting for Biden will be dismissed as fake news, misinformation, disinformation, or hate speech.
An election unlike all others
It will certainly be interesting to see how all this plays out. Right now, it looks like a rematch of Biden vs. Trump. And we all know how ugly, nasty, and divisive that election was in 2020. So grab your popcorn. This is going to be a show on social media that you won’t want to miss.